Project Manager: Neeld Wilson
Project Start: Summer 2017
Planned Finish: May 2023
Project Status: Ongoing - Legacy Project
Project Type: Advocacy
Small Business COI, SDVOSB Sustaining Members
A multi-year industry-government engagement project began in 2017 with a successful and vibrant Post IGE Workshop hosted by the Charleston Post. An SAME Sustaining Member and owner of a SDVOSB identified several issues that resulted from the fact that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Small Business Administration (SBA) had highly different procedures for certifying SDVOSBs and VOSBs. A major impact of this procedural disparity is that federal contracting officers often issue solicitations as unrestricted, which eliminates the contract opportunity for SDVOSBs and VOSBs. More than 300 participants in the IGE Workshop, including representatives from each military service, the VA, SBA, and many Sustaining Members engaged in a day-long discussion that was recorded and then summarized in a white paper. Fortuitously, the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) directed VA and SBA to collaborate to produce a single certification process that would eventually be administered by SBA. A key outcome of the Charleston Post IGE Workshop was the determination that the issue could not be resolved locally, but would require coordination with senior leadership at the headquarters level.
As a result, the SAME National Office took the lead on supporting and advancing this issue, assisting the initial collaboration between SBA and VA to develop a single procedure. Member-led discussions with senior leaders inside and outside the Society, including educating key committee staffers and member in both houses of Congress, played an important role in helping sustain the momentum. After another law was passed directing the single procedure (NDAA 2021), work now is focused on developing the rules for transferring SDVOSB authorization to SBA. To further increase the effectiveness of this process, SAME is supporting the efforts of the National Veterans Small Business Council, which is directly involved in its development. The model under consideration, being developed with constructive input from the veteran small business community, would give SBA the authority to manage the process, but use a third-party certifier operating under its management to conduct the certification. The new process also seeks to move from a “verification” process to a “certification” process and streamline the current system by removing unnecessary steps. The new model would leverage the current system utilized by the VA as the third-party certifier, at least in the near term. This would allow SBA to fulfill its deadline of Jan. 1, 2023, to bring the process under its oversight while also providing additional time to finalize the system and secure funding.
Simplify and standardize the process for certifying SDVOSBs/VOSBs for federal contracting, increasing the opportunity for these companies to fairly compete for set-aside contracts.
Originating Source: Post member/Sustaining Member company
FY2021 NDAA | TME article, “Examining SDVOSB Certification,” Nov-Dec 2019